What Are the Best Strategies for College Counselors? | James Wickenden | 2 Min Read

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, we learned that the acceptance rates at the Ivy League universities were the lowest on record.  Specifically, Harvard accepted 3.4%, Columbia 3.7%, Princeton 4%, Yale 4.6%, University of Pennsylvania 5.7%, Dartmouth 6.2%.  The article did not provide information on the acceptance rates at Cornell or Brown.  Based solely on these data, college counselors at public and independent schools will be confronted by angry parents and disappointed students many of whom had excellent credentials.  Having been the Dean of Admission at Princeton University from 1978 to 1983, I readily admit that I am not familiar with the current admissions policies of the aforementioned institutions.  Nonetheless, I feel confident in stating that two-thirds of those who were just admitted to the Ivy League universities had impeccable academic credentials.  If true, the competition for students aspiring to Phi Beta Kappa, Rhodes, and Marshall scholarships, and other prestigious awards for academic excellence will be fierce.

Given the significant uptick in applications to highly selective universities, the following recommendations to college counselors might enable them to ease the pain their students feel after learning that they have been denied admission to one or more institutions for…

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Jim Wickenden

Jim is a Principal at DRG and Founder of Wickenden Associates, an affiliate of DRG. Having been the CEO of one of the premier education executive search firms in the United States, Jim brings unparalleled experience and networks to best serve clients. With over 30 years of experience identifying and guiding Heads of Schools and other senior administrators of schools across the country, Jim approaches each search with flexibility and openness that responds to the individual needs and concerns of schools and their leaders. Before founding Wickenden Associates, Jim served as the Dean of Admissions at Princeton University and Director of Student and Alumni Affairs at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. A graduate of Tabor Academy and Princeton University, Jim holds a master’s degree in Counselor Education from Rutgers University, a master’s degree in the General Purposes of Education from Harvard University, and a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Boston University. As a former member of eight boards of independent schools with a wide range of missions and resource levels, Jim also knows firsthand the responsibilities shouldered by today’s trustees; and knows how to guide boards through tough transition processes and on good governance practices. Jim lives in Princeton, NJ, and when he is not at the office he enjoys reading enlightening books.